Intel Core i7-3720QM Ivy Bridge Mobile Review

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Power Consumption and Battery Life

If you're shopping for an notebook you're likely very interested in what kind of battery life you can expect from a system, unless you're considering a desktop replacement machine.

Asus N56VM and Ivy Bridge Power Consumption and Battery Life
System Power Consumption, Efficiency and Battery Life

The results below are from our combined Battery Eater Pro (worst case) and Web Browsing only (almost best case) tests. BEP beats on the CPU, GPU, disk and memory while it renders a 3D image and rotates it in real time on the screen. Our light duty, web browser test refreshes a web page of mixed text, graphics, HTML and Flash, every 3 minutes. Both tests are run with display brightness set to 50% with no sleep timers enabled. All other power plan options were left as delivered from the manufacturer.  We should note that all tests below were conducted on the integrated graphics core of the CPU in each notebook.

The Asus N56VM, with its 6-cell battery, lasted about 4 hours on a charge under a light duty web browsing workload.  However, under our Battery Eater test condition, the machine actually pulled up in the rear of the pack, at just over an hour of uptime, similar to the quad-core Sandy Bridge based Asus G73 notebook.  Please note there are differences in screen size and battery power ratings between the machines as well, so this is more of a total solution power test, versus pure processor power consumption.

What this does speak to is that under light-duty workloads, Ivy Bridge scales back nicely in terms of power consumption, such that the 15.6-inch Asus N56VM is almost competitive with the 14-inch Alienware M14x, which by the way sports an 8-cell 63Whr battery versus the N56VM's 6-cell battery.  The M14x also weighs a half pound more than the N56VM, though it's a smaller 14-inch form factor.

In terms of direct power consumption measurements, we observed the Ivy Bridge-powered Asus N56VM hovering around 17.5 Watts of power consumption when idle on the desktop, with peak load draw of 93W with both CPU and GPU under load and 75W with just the CPU fully loaded.

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